Hockey is a team game, and you won’t be able to drive the puck to the net all by yourself on every possession! This makes passing an absolutely essential element of your game. If you’re new to hockey or you’re trying to figure out why every pass goes flying into the stands, worry not. The mechanics of passing the puck are fairly straightforward once you get the hang of them. Catching a pass is also fairly easy once you understand the mechanics. It may seem tough now, but incorporating a few simple tips will dramatically improve your game.
Method 1 Method 1 of 4:Standard Forehand Pass
Hold the stick with your nondominant hand on top of the handle. Grip the very top of your stick with your nondominant hand so that your pinky is hanging on top of the handle. Wrap your dominant hand underneath the stick so that your hands are a little further out than shoulder-length.
- The standard forehand pass is your go-to option on the ice.
- This should be comfortable, and you should be able to bend your knees and comfortably hold the stick against the ice at a comfortable angle.
- You hold the stick like this for every kind of pass.
Tilt the blade down a bit and turn to your target at an angle. Move the puck to your dominant side so that the blade, which is the bottom of the hockey stick, is facing out away from you. Turn your legs so that you’re facing your target at a roughly 45-degree angle. Tilt the top of your blade forward a little bit to pin the puck against the ice.
- If the blade is perpendicular to the ground or tilted back, the puck is going to fly up into the air when you pass it.
- If you’re new to hockey, don’t pass the puck while you’re moving. Stop first and get into a stationary position. Passing while skating is kind of a unique skill, so master the mechanics while you’re standing still first.
Look at your intended target and hold the stick in front of you. You aren’t going to make an accurate pass if you’re looking at the puck. Once you’re in position to make the pass, lock your eyes on the target. If you’re passing to a player while they’re moving, lead your target so that the puck meets them where they’re skating. Hold the stick up a little in front of you so that there’s space between the handle and your chest.
- It’s okay to look at your stick if you’re practicing passing for the first time and you want to make sure you’re moving the blade correctly but, in a game, lock your eyes on the target when you’re ready to pass.
- In a game, make sure you’re passing to someone who’s actually ready for the puck. Most players will tap their stick on the ice, hold it steady in front of them, or call out to indicate that they’re open.
Pull your top hand back and drag the puck forward. To initiate the pass, begin pulling your top back a little bit. At the same time, swing your dominant hand forward. Keep the blade tilted forward and drag it along the ice like you’re sweeping a broom. Do not lift the blade off of the ice or that puck is going to go flying into the air!
- The speed that you drag the blade determines the speed of your pass. If it’s too slow, it’s going to be intercepted. If it’s too hard, you may be inaccurate. You’re aiming for a sharp but smooth, controlled pass here.
- Your nondominant hand actually does most of the work when you shoot or pass the puck. Your dominant hand’s main job is to stabilize and guide the stick.
Roll the puck along the blade and flick it forward. As you extend the blade in front of you, turn your nondominant hand towards you a bit to rotate the stick in your hand. Continue extending the blade out towards your target and let the puck roll from the middle of your blade out through the tip. This will cause the puck to spin. Not only will this help it stick to the ice, but it will also put a little snap into your pass.
- This is known as “rolling the wrist,” and it’s why a lot of professional hockey players look like they’re magically shooting the puck all over the place with a slight flick of their stick.
- This can feel kind of odd at first, but you’ll get better with practice.
Follow through with your stick to keep the pass accurate. If you slow the stick down before the puck leaves the blade, it’s going to mess with the trajectory of your pass. Continue dragging the blade all the way through the pass and let it naturally come to a stop once the puck is on the move.
- This isn’t baseball—you don’t need to throw your entire body weight into the follow through or anything like that. Just make sure you aren’t letting up before the puck is out of your control.
- It’s okay if you lift the stick off of the ice on the follow through after the puck has left your possession.
Method 2 Method 2 of 4:Push Pass
Point your front toe towards your target. You can make a push pass with your shoulder pointing towards your target, but you can also perform this simple pass with your chest facing the target. Either way, aim your dominant toe towards the target for a forehand push pass, or your nondominant toe for a backhand push pass.
- This style of pass is a lot quicker to execute than a standard forehand pass, but you won’t get nearly as much power on the puck. The push pass is great for making quick passes on the move or if you want a little more accuracy on your pass.
Tilt your blade down a bit to cup the puck and hold it down. Like the forehand pass, the puck is going to fly off of the ice if your blade is flat or tilted up. Tilt it forward a bit to pin the puck down on the ice and maintain control.
Slide the blade forward and push the puck to your target. Use your arms to drag the puck in a straight line towards your target. Push the blade forward while keeping your blade tilted slightly down. As you release the puck, continue pushing the puck up towards your target to follow through.
- Unlike the standard forehand pass, you don’t slide the puck back at all to gain leverage and increase the speed. You also don’t roll the puck off of the tip of your blade.
- Your lower body isn’t doing very much during the push pass. This is just a quick dragging motion forward.
Method 3 Method 3 of 4:Other Common Passes
Go for a backhand pass if you’re facing your nondominant direction. If you’re right-handed and facing left (or vice versa), position the puck near the heel of your stick. Sweep the puck out towards your target like you’re drawing a crescent moon in the ice. Let the puck roll off of the front of your blade and spin towards the target to make your backhand pass.
- This is going to be really awkward if you’re new to hockey, but stick with it. It’s sort of like shooting a basketball with your left hand—it gets easier the more you practice.
- You are not going to have nearly as much snap on the puck when you perform a backhand pass. Still, there may be times where a defender blocks off a route and you’re forced to make one of these passes, so it’s a great tool to have in your skillset.
Perform a flip (saucer) pass to get over an opponent or obstacle. If someone goes sliding into your line of vision or a random stick ends up on the ice, you may need to flip the puck into the air. To do this, you’ll pass the puck the same way you normally do with two minor changes. Instead of tilting the blade forward, tilt it back so that the top of your blade is pointing slightly behind you. As you sweep the stick forward, lift the blade off of the ice to get the puck into the air.
- The flip pass and saucer pass are the same thing.
- In most cases, you don’t want the puck to launch more than 8–10 inches (20–25 cm) off the ice. You can get it higher by lifting the blade at a higher angle as you make the pass if you’d like.
Use a drop pass to slip the puck to a player behind you. If you’re handling the puck, defenders are on you, but you have a teammate approaching behind you, use the drop pass to slip them the puck. To do this, move the puck to the backside of your blade. Then, slide the puck gently behind you so that your teammate can take control.
- This is a great pass to make on the move when you’re in the opponent’s defensive zone since passing the puck behind you will make it hard for the goalie to keep track of it.
Trick your opponents by squaring up and going for a flick pass. Usually, you tilt your legs and point your toes in the direction you want to pass. If you’re facing an opponent directly and want to keep them on their toes, square up so that your skates are facing them directly. Then, use a quick flicking motion to pass the puck to your right or left. By squaring up and flicking the puck quickly, your opponent will have a harder time figuring out where you’re passing.
- This is probably the one time you want to rely on your peripheral vision to make your pass. If you stare at your target directly, you’re going to telegraph the direction that you’re passing.
Method 4 Method 4 of 4:Pass Receiving
Hold your stick out or signal that you’re ready for a pass. Nobody is going to pass with you if you don’t let them know you’re open! Either tap your stick on the ice a few times, or hold the blade of the stick out in front of you while making eye contact with the player in possession.
- You can also shout out “puck” or “open” to let them know you want the puck.
- You can receive passes on your forehand or backhand side. If you have a choice, receiving on your forehand side will feel more natural.
Pin the blade against the ice and turn it towards the puck. Keep the blade of your stick pressed against the ice. If you catch the puck with your blade elevated, you’re going to have a ton trouble maintaining control. Orient the blade so that it’s resting perpendicular to the player in possession of the puck. The fewer changes you need to make to the stick once the puck is on the ice, the easier it will be to catch.
- You can catch a pass with either side of the blade. Whenever possible, catch it with the curved side facing the puck. It’s a little bit easier to maintain control with this side.
Tilt the blade of your hockey stick forward to prevent ricochets. Once the puck is heading in your direction, move your top hand towards the puck a little bit to tilt the blade of your stick. Angling the blade forward will create a tighter angle for the puck and minimize the odds that it just bounces off of your stick into some random direction. Track the puck with your eyes as it’s travelling to you.
- It’s totally fine if you need to skate towards the puck to catch it, but avoid moving your stick all over the place if you can. The fewer adjustments you need to make with the stick, the easier it will be to catch the pass and transition immediately into handling it.
Cushion the puck by pulling your blade back as you catch it. As the puck connects with the blade of your stick, slowly guide the puck back to gradually slow it down. Even if you just guide the puck back a few inches, it’s going to be much easier to control. Once the puck is pinned against the ice and your stick, you’re in possession!
- If it helps, picture this kind of like you’re catching an egg that someone lobbed to you.
- If the puck bounces off your stick and you can naturally take a few strides to bring it back under control, do that. If you can’t get it before someone else, forget about it and just set back up on offense or defense depending on which team grabs possession.